Proverbs 22:6 – Teach your children to choose the right path, and when they are older, they will remain upon it. (NLT)
Little Opie on The Andy Griffith Show was devastated. It was report card day. He thought his eyes deceived him, but there they were — all "As". Andy was "proud as a peacock" and bragged of Opie's accomplishments.
Opie soaked up the praise — until the next day at school. The teacher explained she had erred in recording some of the grades and Opie's was one. "Cs" appeared.
Opie could not bring himself to tell his Pa. Running away was his solution. When Andy found him, he confessed, telling Andy his plan not to come back until Andy could be proud of him again. With pain only a convicted parent could know, Andy said, "Opie, I'm proud of you just because you're my son."
This is a simple story with permeating lessons. My daughter often made all "As", and I praised her. But did I reward her when she made a "C" in the class where "C" was her best? I congratulated her when her finishing time in a cross country meet was excellent, but did I put my arms around her when she could not finish the course because of an asthma attack?
And what about fussing at my son for complaining while on a backpacking trip he really didn't care to go on in the first place. Should I have substituted what he would have rather done instead of gratifying my selfish interests?
I tend to be proud when my children do what I want them to do — but today's proverb instructs me to teach them the right path. The right path is God's goal for them — not mine. The right path is unconditional love, regardless. The right path is "I'm proud of you just because you are my …"
Prayer: God, show us what we need to change so that our children will know they are loved unconditionally. Amen.